Singer/Songwriter Slam boasts talented musicians

Student performers compete in competition at The Cabin

More stories from Rebecca Mennecke


Photo by Kar Wei Cheng

The Cabin hosted the Singer/Songwriter Slam this past weekend where first-year biology student, Patric Tillery, was awarded a performance slot.

Put on by the University Activities Commission (UAC), UW-Eau Claire’s Singer/Songwriter Slam hosted three student performers this year: Annika Angelo, a first-year psychology student; Jeff Carter, a senior English education student; and Patric Tillery, a first-year biology student, all of whom came prepared with a selection of handwritten musical pieces.

“I am excited to see what local artists have to offer,” Abbie Finnerty, a first-year elementary education student said, moments before the event began this past Saturday night at The Cabin. “Eau Claire is kind of a musical city.”

“I love how music brings people together, how it can cross boundaries,” said Olivea Boyer, a first-year social work student who was seated next to Finnerty. The two had some of The Cabin’s coffee sitting on the table in front of them.

According to the competition’s rules, these pieces had to be original and no longer than five minutes in length. The performers featured a split of piano and guitar talents between them, with Carter and Tillery performing on the guitar and Angelo playing the piano, reading music from her laptop.

“I’ve done it since I was about five years old,” Angelo said. “Singing has always just been an important part of my life.”

Despite this, she was a first-time performer at the event.

The three students competed in two rounds of performances, playing one song per round. Carter, who played for his third consecutive year at the Singer/Songwriter Slam, performed a piece about Eau Claire’s white LED streetlights at 3 a.m. in February. Angelo performed a piece entitled “Sea Farers” which is about the realization of her childhood dreams not coming true.

Tillery, the third performer, took the stage and said, with a laugh, “I’m only freaking out a little bit right now.”

Like Angelo, it was his first time performing.

“Most don’t even know I play guitar,” he said.

But, he later added, “I feel, like, the most basic instincts to create.”

The audience ranked the performers best-liked to least-liked. Whoever was ranked third by most of the audience would be cut.

During the second round, Tillery was unable to complete his poetic song “Turncoat” because he had forgotten the rest of his music. He waved himself off of the stage.

Despite not being able to continue, Tillery — as well as Angelo — was voted to continue in the final round. They each performed one last song before the final voting occurred. Angelo played a piece about her relationship with Jesus, and Tillery finished the piece he was unable to finish during the second round.

Tillery, who said he found out about the Singer/Songwriter Slam the day before it occurred, said he was perhaps not as prepared as he could have been.

“I found out about this in the Sutherland stalls,” he said, referring to fliers put up weekly in the Sutherland Hall bathroom stalls by members of the Hall Council.

Perhaps because of his ill-preparations, Tillery he said was surprised to hear of his win.

“Dumbfounded. Shocked. Enthused,” he said in reference to how he felt when he found out that he had won.

As the first place winner, Tillery will receive some UAC merchandise, a Winter Carnival T-shirt and a paid booking at the Cabin, where he will later perform. Angelo, the runner-up, will also receive a Winter Carnival T-shirt and some UAC merchandise.